Miami Heat (44-38) at Boston Celtics (57-25)
Game Info: Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at 8:30 p.m. EST (TD Garden)
Betting Odds: Celtics (-8) / Over/Under (210.5)
Pick: Heat (+8)
Wednesday night brings us the 1st matchup of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics inside TD Garden, with both teams looking to gain the early momentum in the series.
In what is a shock to virtually anyone that has covered the NBA this year, the Miami Heat are in the Eastern Conference Finals once again. This time around, they will match up with the Boston Celtics once again, just as they did inside the bubble a few years ago. Although they are big underdogs to upset the Celtics this time around, being that they have knocked off the Bucks and Knicks already this year in the Playoffs, they will have the upmost confidence that they can take down another giant in the East. If they are to do so, it doesn't take a genius to know who is going to have to lead the way for them. That man is Jimmy Butler. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, he averaged 24.6 PTS, 7.2 REB, and 6.0 AST (all which were higher than his regular season totals). Against a far superior squad that the Boston Celtics have to offer, Butler will need to be able to elevate his game to another level to put his squad in the position to make an outstanding upset.
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After falling down 3-2 to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Celtics showed their championship mentality in Game 6 and 7 to eventually take down the 76ers. Even more impressively, after going into halftime only up by a score of 55-52, the Celtics came out of the break with mean intentions, outscoring the 76ers 57-36 in the 2nd half. Additionally, Jayson Tatum put on one of the most stunning performances in NBA history in a Game 7. If we are looking only at points, he was able to score the most points in Game 7 history, putting in 51 points on 17/28 shooting. Although on the other side, Joel Embiid and James Harden both have scoring titles to their names, Jayson Tatum was the only one who seemed like a champion-esque player. As we move our attention to the Celtics-Heat upcoming series, Tatum will look to replicate his dominance that he displayed against the 76ers.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- The Heat are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games
- Miami is 8-3 ATS in Playoff games
- The over has hit in 8 out of 11 of the last Celtics games
Even though the Sportsbooks are predicting that this one will be over shortly for the Celtics to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals for the 2nd consecutive year, something about the grit of this Heat squad makes me rethink how easy this series will truly be for the Celtics. I am not going to sit here and say that the Heat are going to upset the Celtics, because that is farfetched at the moment, but I will say that I 100% expect the Heat to put up more of a fight than the general consesus is expecting them to. Give me the Heat to battle in Game 1 and keep things within the range of covering all night long!
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